A family were put through the “terrifying” ordeal of an unlawful police raid at their home in London when they were wrongfully handcuffed and had tasers pointed at them.
The family said the experience “was like a living nightmare” as they were made to stand barefoot in the middle of the street in their pyjamas for more than an hour while the police searched their property – only for officers to apologise as it was the house next door they had been targeting and needed to search.
They approached Hudgell Solicitors’ expert Civil Liberties police complaints solicitors to take action against the police and make a claim for compensation following the wrongful raid.
In the letter of claim, it said that the family – a mother, her three children, and one of their partners – were asleep when they were awoken by banging on the door and shouting at around 1am.
The mother looked out of the window to see 15 police officers outside with shields and tasers. One by one each member of the household was told to come downstairs and were led out into the middle of the street with tasers pointing at them and four members of the household were put in handcuffs.
The family stood in the cold “absolutely terrified with no idea what was going on” as they waited for the police to search their home. The officers then went to the house next door and the family were let out of the handcuffs at around this time.
The family said that the officers apologised and claimed that one of them said, ‘sorry this happened, but sometimes it does happen, we’re only human’.
At around 3.30am most of the officers left, having then used their property to gain access to the rear of the house next door to carry out a search there instead.
‘Traumatised’ family make police raid claim after ‘huge mistake’
Leanne Stephenson, one of our Civil Liberties Associates, who represented the family in the police raid claim legal case, said: “The family said that at no point were they shown a warrant to search their house and admitted they were unable to sleep at all that night.
“The events of that night have had a massive impact on the family, who were all left traumatised. Since then, they have been having flashbacks and have had trouble sleeping.
“Members of the family are terrified that something like this will happen again. Any noise they hear at night takes them back to the incident and makes them panic.
“One of the family told us that it is a ‘memory I would love to forget, but I am sure I will never forget the events of that evening’.
“Another member of the family said that the embarrassment and distress they all went through was horrific and finds it hard to understand and accept how such a huge mistake can be made.”
As well as the traumatic stress of the unlawful police raid, it was claimed some items in the house were damaged during the search.
The allegations against the police in the legal case had made claims for trespass to land, assault and battery, negligence, and damage to property against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis.
The Metropolitan Police made no admission of liability on the claims against it, but Ms Stephenson successfully secured four-figure sums in compensation for members of the family after “without prejudice” offers were made.
If you or a loved one has been through the ordeal of an unlawful police raid at your home then you may be eligible to make a claim.